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MOSCOW, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Restrictions on foreign ownership in the country’s media will help develop the market of information services, a top parliamentarian from the Russian State Duma told reporters on Tuesday.
“It will certainly strengthen possibilities of our media, the rights of Russian journalists,” the chairperson of the Duma‘s Committee for Security and Fight Against Corruption Irina Yarovaya said after the bill passed in the first reading on Tuesday. Yarovaya from the ruling United Russia party said legislative novelties take into consideration the existing international practice and legislations of other countries, and meet the interests of information and national security. “This is also means of protection against humanitarian interventions that are getting increasingly popular in the world,” she added.
“Control over media by foreigners is one of the means of covert influence on the country and attempts to influence its decisions,” State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergey Zheleznyak said. He said “most sovereign nations determine the maximally possible share of participation of foreign companies and individuals in managing home media".
Legislation introduced by deputies from Russia's Communist Party, A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party, would debar overseas individuals or companies from setting up their own media outlets in Russia and from owning more than 20% of any business in broadcasting or print media. Restrictions would apply equally to Russians who have dual citizenship and non-citizen residents.
If passed, the bill will come into effect on January 1, 2016 but stakeholders will have until February 1, 2017 to bring ownership into line with regulations.
To become law, the bill must be passed in three readings in the lower house of parliament before being approved by parliament's upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.